Coetzee has used himself—or should we say a simulacrum of himself—to show that biography has a powerful a story to tell, regardless of who is hurt and whose privacy is violated.
After publication of The Fire Next Time in 1963, he [James Bsldwin] became a celebrity presence at events — a “face.” At the end of the decade, however, demoralized by the assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, he suffered a form of nervous collapse and retreated to the French hilltop village of St.-Paul-de-Vence, near Nice, where he lived in subdued peace and where he died in 1987
As we reflect on the human frailty that these tragic events so starkly reveal, we are reminded that, if we are to be effective Christian leaders, we must live lives of the utmost integrity, humility and holiness. As Blessed John Henry Newman once wrote, “O that God would grant the clergy to feel their weakness as sinful men, and the people to sympathize with them and love them and pray for their increase in all good gifts of grace” (Sermon, 22 March 1829).
--Pope Benedict XVI